From its small beginnings in 1994 as an Afrikaans music festival, the Oppikoppi music festival has grown into one of
South Africa’s most popular. This year Oppikoppi turns 18 and like its name, which is a variant of the Afrikaans “op die koppie”, meaning “on top of the hill”, the Oppikoppi experience is going to be even more diverse as its loyal supporters.
The Limpopo-based festival has also caught the attention of the international market. Voted as the fourth-best music festival held outside the UK by British newspaper the Daily Mirror, it is the only African festival on the list.
Each year offers a different theme such as the 2011 Unknown Brothers, 2010′s Smoor verlief (completely infatuated) and sexy.crooked.teeth of 2009, hinting at the off-the-wall Oppikoppi experiences one can expect. And expect to hear and to respond to the Opppikoppi festival cry regularly. It is simple yet effective: anyone shouting “oppi” will get a raucous and enthusiastic “koppi” reply from all within earshot.
If you have never been to Oppikoppi, chances are you will be told by most of the regular attendees that “you have not yet lived”. Indeed, for the faithful the festival has become “a near religious experience”, notes the Oppikoppi Facebook page.
This year, Oppikoppi will be even bigger with Hilltop Live organisers planning to expand the festival to accommodate 18 000 people.
Affectionately referred to as “Mordor” because of the dust and thorns attendees have to contend with, in a way these inconveniences have just added to its popularity.
And while most people opt for the do-it-yourself experience of putting up their own camp sites, the Kreef Hotel has become an institution in its own right. The word ‘hotel’ is a misnomer; festival goers stay in prepitched tents, albeit with a choice of accommodation, from the luxurious Caviar option which includes a camping bed, bedside table and table light, to the Threesome option, a tent with three mattresses.
Oppikoppi 18 takes place from 9 to 11 August at its regular venue, Oppikoppi Farm in Northam, Limpopo province.